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Florida Palm Trees – List of Native and Imported Species

Florida Palm Trees – List of Native and Imported Species

If you reside in Florida or have recently relocated there, incorporating palm trees into your yard or garden is a popular choice for landscaping.

Are palm trees native to Florida? There are only 12 types of palm trees that are native to the state of Florida. These include the Bucaneer and Royal palm trees. All the other types of palm tree species found in the greater Florida area were originally imported from elsewhere. 

Read on below and discover everything you need to know about the 12 types of palms that are true Floridians as well as more about the ones that aren’t!

12 Palm Trees That Are Native to Florida

Palm trees go with Florida like milk goes with cookies and hamburgers go with buns; the two things are almost inseparable in our minds.

That said, even though palms of every nature spring into mind when the word Florida enters your thoughts, there are only 12 palm varieties that are actually native to the state. 

Here are the 12 native Floridian palm trees:

1. Buccaneer Palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii)

The Buccaneer palm is one of the most popular native Florida palm trees. They grow to heights of around 10 to 25 feet with widths of around 10 to 15 feet.

Besides the state of Florida, it is also found in parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.

2. Royal Palm (Roystonea regia

The Royal palm is almost as popular as the Buccaneer palm and maybe even more popular in some areas of Florida.

Once thought to be a separate species from those growing in the Caribbean and Mexico, they are now classified as one and the same. These big gorgeous palms reach heights between 50 and 80 feet.

3. Paurotis Palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)

 

The Paurotis palm is another incredibly popular palm tree, but you probably don’t recognize the name unless you’re from Flordia. They grow up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. These palms are found in all regions of the state.

The Paurotis palm is another incredibly popular palm tree, but you probably don’t recognize the name unless you’re from Flordia. They grow up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. These palms are found in all regions of the state.

4. Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)

The Sabal palm, or Cabbage palm, is one of the most well-known Florida palm trees. In fact, there may be one or more Sabal sub-species further on down in our list of native palms to Florida.

The beautiful palm species is also known as the Carolina palm, Blue palm, and Swamp Cabbage.

5. Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)

The Dwarf Palmetto, a sub-species of the Sabal palm, is native to Florida and other parts of the U.S. and Mexico as well.

Basically, it is a miniature version of the Cabbage palm (mentioned above). You can find them all over Florida, especially in yards and gardens.

6. Scrub Palmetto (Sabal etonia)

The Scrub Palmetto is another of the smaller native Florida pine trees. This Palmetto is yet another sub-species of the Cabbage palm.

Likewise, it is also found in pretty much every corner of the state, again, in front yards and gardens. 

7. Florida Silver Palm (Coccothrinax argentata)

The Florida Silver palm is a mid-sized native palm tree to the state of Florida. It is not to be confused with other Silver palms (which are not native to Florida).

This one is much smaller than a regular Silver palm.

8. Miami Palmetto (Sabal miamiensis)

The Miami Palmetto is one of two palm trees endemic to Florida (the other being the Scrub palm), meaning that they are found exclusively in Florida and no where else.

Miami Palmetto trees are considered to be extremely rare and endangered and may even be extinct in nature.

The stems grow underground, the leaves are fan shaped, and the plant produces pretty, white flowers in the spring and summer.

9. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

The Saw Palmetto is shorter than other palms that grow wild in Flordia, but it’s a native!

It’s also a bit different looking than others, growing fronds with a thorn-like appearance and spread out like an oriental hand fan. The fruit of the Saw Palmetto is often harvested as a medicinal ingredient.

10. Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)

 

The Needle palm is an Atlantic palm species native to Florida and several other states in the region. It is the only member of its genus and is unique-looking among other Florida palms.

Depending on how it is maintained and where it is planted, it may appear more like a fern bush than a palm.

11. Key Thatch Palm (Leucothrinax morrisii)

 

The Key Thatch is yet another smaller palm that is native to Flordia and the Bahamas. The palm also grows in the Antilles and has recently become an endangered species.

It grows 20 to 35 feet tall and has 3 to 5 feet wide fronds on top.

12. Thatch Palm (Thrinax)

The Thatch palm is a small tree native to Flordia and the Caribean, not to be confused with the Key Thatch palm mentioned above.

They top out at heights of well under 20 feet most times and have fronds that are droopy compared to other palms.

Non-Native Palms in Florida

There’s a seemingly never-ending list of palms in Florida (over 2,500 the last time we checked!), many of them hybrids and new species created from the many species that’ve migrated to the state over the years.

Here are a few of the most popular non-native palms in Florida:

1. Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

The Pygmy Date palm is native to Vietnam, China, Laos, and other parts of Asia.

These trees are extremely popular in yards and gardens in Florida as well as in landscaping for businesses such as theme parks and hotels.

The trees top out at around 6 feet tall and are the same in width. The Pygmy Date palm is also popular potted as an indoor plant as well.

2. Veitchia Palms (Veitchia)

The Veitchia palm tree is actually a flowering plant in the Arecaceae family. It is native to islands found in the Pacific ocean.

From the Solomon Islands and Fiji to SW Florida and beyond, the Veitchia palm is a popular choice. They grow around 6 to 12 feet tall and 5 to 12 feet wide with large bushy fronds up top.

The trees are a palm species that tolerate shade well.

3. Queen Palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana

The Queen palm is another popular palm tree found all over Florida, but it is native to Africa.

They are tall, gorgeous, and long-living, but they are also trickier to grow than other palms found in Florida (and elsewhere).

The trees grow rapidly when they do take root, shooting up as much as 6 feet per year until they hit 50 feet tall.

4. Mini-Palms (Chamaedorea elegans)

Mini-palms are another flowering plant that doesn’t get very large. They’re extremely popular for potting and growing indoors.

These guys are very small compared to other palms and barely qualify as trees for the most part. However, if planted outside and tended to with care, they may indeed grow into large bushes of over 8 feet tall.

5. Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)

The Canary Island Date palm is a species of palm that hails from water slightly closer to the equator than Florida. These trees reach maximum heights of up to 60 feet high.

They have a maximum spread of approximately 40 feet wide. Amazingly, the palms live for up to a few hundred years. They grow around 1 foot per year, though that is relatively slow for a palm tree in Florida.

6. Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

The Broadleaf Lady palm is yet another small palm “tree” variety found in Florida, typically grown in pots inside or on porches.

These plants stand out among palms because they are man made; Chinese cultivators created them, and you can not find them in the wild. They are meant for pots, gardens, and yards.

Related Questions: 

Are Palm Trees Really Trees?

Technically speaking, palm trees aren’t really trees at all, they are actually large woody plants. That’s why palms are classified as herbs, botanically, like bamboo and ornamental grasses.

What Is Palm Fruit?

Palm fruit isn’t a fruit that grows on palm trees in general, it is a fruit that grows on one specific sort of plant called the oil palm tree.

Throughout the year, the oil palm tree produces enormous amounts of fresh “fruit” in comparison to typical fruit trees.

Conclusion

From popular native Flordia species like the Royal palm, Cabbage palm, and Buccaneer palm to imported species like Queen palms, Pygmy, and Mini-palms, our list covers all of the most important and well-loved palm trees in Florida!